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This hike combines three trails for a beautiful jaunt through aspen forest and the occasional big vista.


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Map Key

6.5

Miles

10.4

KM

Point to Point

10,561' 3,219 m

High

8,888' 2,709 m

Low

1,569' 478 m

Up

1,810' 552 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

49%

Max Grade (26°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This hike combines the Elder Creek, Deep Creek and Mill Creek Waterline Trail. One of the highlights are the many beautiful aspen groves you'll hike through. Mountain views are limited, but there are a few. Toward the end of the trail you'll also have a stunning view down to the town of Telluride and the San Miguel River Valley.

Description

This hike can be started from either Mill Creek Road (FR 637) or from North Aspen Street (just a few blocks from historic downtown Telluride). If starting from Mill Creek Road be aware that this is a narrow and steep forest road. Although low/moderate clearance vehicles should be able to make it, use caution and keep an eye open for traffic coming the opposite direction.

From the trailhead, located at the first sharp switchback of the road, you'll follow the Elder Creek Trail as it begins ascending. At first the trail is a bit rough and rocky as it follows what appears to be an old 4x4 road, but you'll soon come to a signed junction where the Elder Creek Trail turns to the right onto nice, smooth singletrack.

You'll continue climbing and enter some beautiful aspen forest. This is one of the highlights of the trail. Continue through the forest, crossing a small stream, until you reach a junction with the Deep Creek Trail. Turn right.

You'll soon top out on the high point. Unfortunately there aren't any views from here. Continue straight on the Deep Creek Trail (the Sneffels Highland Trail takes off to the left here) and begin the descent.

As you descend you'll pass through a few open areas with some mountain views. Remain on the Deep Creek Trail until crossing Mill Creek via footbridge. You're now on the Mill Creek Waterline Trail.

Continue along as this trail nicely contours the mountainside. You'll soon have stunning views down to the town of Telluride and the San Miguel River Valley. The trail then makes a sustained descent to Cornet Creek and North Aspen Street where it ends.

Unless you have arranged a shuttle, you'll of course need to hike back to the starting trailhead. You can simply return the way you came, or hike a few blocks through town to the Telluride Bike Path and follow it back to Mill Creek Road for a much easier return trip. It is also possible to form a shorter loop hike by skipping the Mill Creek Waterline portion and instead taking the Elder to Mill Creek Connector back to the trailhead.

Contacts

Shared By:

Mike Windsor

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#14

in Telluride

#4049

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#14

in Telluride

#545

in Colorado

#4,049

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0 Since Oct 26, 2023
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Photos

Beautiful aspen forest.
Oct 26, 2023 near Mountai…, CO
Telluride views.
Oct 26, 2023 near Telluride, CO
San Miguel River Valley views.
Oct 26, 2023 near Telluride, CO
The Mill Creek Waterline Trail contours nicely along the mountainside.
Oct 26, 2023 near Telluride, CO
The many aspen groves are a highlight of this trail.
Oct 26, 2023 near Mountai…, CO
Views of Wilson Peak from trail.
Oct 26, 2023 near Mountai…, CO

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